Summer Road Trip Safety Tips

Tips for Driving in the Summer

It is expected that as summer arrives, more than one-third of all Americans will take a family vacation which is 50 miles or more away from their home. Although gas prices are edging up, many of those vacations will be taken in the family car. A summer road trip can result in memories which last for a lifetime; national parks, theme parks, and beaches are the most popular destinations for family road trips. Mapping out your route in advance is crucial to ensuring you stay on course and safe on your trip. Triple-A recommends that you plan frequent stops—about every two hours to ensure the driver remains alert, and to give passengers an opportunity to stretch their legs or have a drink and a snack.

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Drunk Driver Sentenced For 2015 Fatal Crash

15th Judicial District Judge David Smith sentenced a 25-year-old Lafayette man to twelve years in prison, following a February 2015 drunk driving crash in which he destroyed two vehicles and killed one person.

Police and witnesses state that Bryan Chapman was heavily intoxicated and driving at least 100mph when he smashed into 66-year-old Carol Ann Richard’s vehicle near the intersection of Halifax Drive and Moss Street. The force of the impact propelled Ms. Richard’s burning car into another vehicle, causing it to topple over. Mr. Chapman pleaded guilty in July 2015, and he has remained in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center since then. At the sentencing hearing, Mr. Chapman’s parents asked for leniency, because they say he is remorseful, has been completely sober since the drunk driving crash, and is a good caregiver to his disabled sister. At the same hearing, witnesses testified through tears about Ms. Richard’s career with the school district and giving spirit. Judge Smith announced that Mr. Chapman must “carry on [that] tradition of giving” after his release from prison, by speaking once a month for twelve months in sobriety court and performing 250 hours of community service at an alcohol counseling center for young people. [Read more…]

Deuces Wild: Two Dead In Two Crashes In Two Hours

Authorities are investigating two separate fatal vehicle collisions in Acadiana. Although they occurred at two different locations, they shared some common elements.

The first one occurred in St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, close to the intersection of Juleau Champagne Road and Anse Broussard Highway. The driver of a 2011 Camry, whose name was not released, apparently lost control of his vehicle and left the road. The driver was rushed to a nearby hospital due to serious injuries; a passenger in the car — 40-year-old Christopher Richard, of St. Martinville — was declared dead at the scene. Louisiana State Police officers said that neither individual was wearing a seatbelt.  [Read more…]

“Fatal Accident” At Area High School

Local authorities hope that a “vehicle crash” outside a local high school will make a strong impression on area teenagers.

With Homecoming coming up at Monroe Neville High School, Louisiana State Police and other first responders descended on campus to give students a demonstration about what can happen in alcohol-related vehicle crashes. The “injuries” ranged from mild to severe; one passenger was ejected from a vehicle and “declared dead at the scene.” LSP officers explained that one of the “drivers” was impaired and would face several criminal charges, including DUI manslaughter. Area schools, including Neville, have staged similar vehicle crash demonstrations in each of the last three years.

“We are trying to teach them you can make a better choice than driving home and getting involved in something like this,” said Troop F Public Information Officer Michael Reichardt. [Read more…]

It’s Raining Cats And Dogs And Crashes

A Bergenfield, New Jersey man died in a serious car accident that took place on a rain-slick Slidell Roadway over Labor Day Weekend.

Authorities state that 66-year-old Milton Frank, of Slidell, lost control of his 2007 Tahoe on the eastbound side of Interstate 10; at the time, the road was already covered with a layer of water and the rain was still falling “heavily,” according to a statement. Mr. Frank crossed over to the westbound side and smacked head-on into a 2016 BMW driven by Steven Fernandez, of Bergenfield. Moments later, 24-year-old Irvin Darensbourg, of New Orleans, crashed into the wreckage in a 2002 Honda.

Mr. Fernandez was pronounced dead at the scene; a passenger in his car – 26-year-old Danielle Carballeira of Staten Island, New York – was seriously injured.

Fact Issues in Car Accidents

The duty of reasonable care basically demands that drivers do whatever is necessary and safe to prevent car accidents, and that includes operating their vehicles at a reasonable speed. The posted speed limit is presumed to be a reasonable speed under ideal conditions: plenty of light, dry pavement, and little wind. It stands to reason that if conditions are less than ideal (poor visibility, slick pavement, and/or high winds), drivers must slow down and drive according to the conditions.

This duty may also vary according to the type of driver and the type of equipment. While experienced drivers have no problem operating at or near the speed limit, new drivers may not yet have that much ability. As for the type of vehicle, some pickup trucks are notorious for their uneven weight distribution when the beds are empty. As a result, drivers must exercise care when maneuvering their vehicles, especially if traction is poor.

Legal Issues in Car Accidents

Whenever there are multiple impacts from multiple vehicles, it can be difficult or impossible to determine which impact caused which injury. In these kinds of car accidents, the foreseeability rule from Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad (1928) often comes into play.

In Palsgraf, a woman at a train station was injured when some large scales fell on her. An investigation later determined that the scales toppled over because fireworks accidentally exploded on the other side of the platform, creating a shock wave that pushed against the scales and caused them to fall. The court ruled that the railroad company was not responsible for Ms. Palsgraf’s injuries, since they were not a foreseeable result of the first accident.

In car accident cases, if the injury was a foreseeable result of the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s conduct), the tortfeasor is generally liable for damages, regardless of whether the injuries were a direct or indirect result of the car accident.

For prompt assistance with a negligence claim, contact an experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorney from Hoffoss Devall. Our firm has a small-town feel and access to nationwide resources.

Fatal Car Crash Near Natchitoches

A man is dead after a high-speed, head-on crash on Interstate 49 that may have been either speed or alcohol related.

According to Louisiana State Police, 18-year-old Deytwan Demetrius, of Fort Polk, was southbound on Interstate 49 just south of State Highway 485 when he lost control of his vehicle, careened through the median, and smashed into a northbound automobile driven by 39-year-old Jabe Maddox, of Longview. Mr. Maddox was declared dead at the scene; Mr. Demetrius and a passenger – 18-year-old Trevon Lewis, of Leesville – were both transported to a local hospital with various injuries.

Charges against Mr. Maddox, as well as the results from toxicology tests, are pending. [Read more…]